Monthly Archives: December 2012

UFC 155 Picks and My One Step Forward for 2013

” Hello, my name is Dan, and I’ve been a Fedor hater for almost 9 years now.”

“One step at a time, man” says the stereo-typically pony-tailed man running the show.

“I’m making those steps. I really am.”

I’ve always thought about quitting FHA (Fedor Haters Anonymous). I really have. But there’s something deep inside me that wants to hate him. Not only just hate him either, but loathe him and all of his fans that have reiterated time and time again that he was the best ever and we can’t even have a discussion about it. I simply want to ask them if they’ve considered the possibility of what would’ve happened if he had to deal with Randy Couture pinning him to the wall. I want to discuss those three straight losses at the end of his career and whether or not they meant something. I want to review the list of the best heavyweights of that time and compare it to the new breed of leaner, stronger, fitter heavyweights. Could people not afford me that small luxury?

“As therapeutic as this group has been to me, I think this will be my last time here” I say. The bald man in the Ronda Rousey shirt sitting to my right looks shocked and rattles off some expletives.

As I said before, I’ve always considered quitting, but that last thing in my list had always kept me there. Could a slightly portly man with his skill set hang with the current era of fighters? Fighters that train by not bringing in just other MMA greats, but greats in single disciplines. Wrestlers to wrestle, boxers to box. Then, The Ultimate Fighter Finale happened and did more for me than this group ever has.

It started, predictably, in the preliminary fights. A calm looking Russian made his way to the ring. I scoffed as Joe Rogan made a comment about his Sambo skills. Me and some friends I have from the meetings enjoyed a few jokes about its application in current MMA before we had the words slapped out of our mouths. We probably would’ve made a comeback about Fedor being out of shape if we weren’t fairly certain we’d have to much on those words later too (not to mention with a multitude of overhand rights in the fight ala Fedor vs Arlovski). And that’s when it clicked.

Maybe I’ve hated Fedor because he never fought my favorite guys. Maybe because he’s got a million fans who I can’t stand. Maybe I feel loyal to the company that got me interested in this sport. But no matter the reason that I did, I’m going to stop hating on Fedor. I’m going to ask myself all of those questions in reverse? Like what if Fedor German suplexed Couture? What if that overhand right landed on Dos Santos? Could the bigger belly roll with his on the ground? Who knows. But my one step this New Years, is going to be to stop hating blindly and instead add Fedor to my mental promotion of “what-ifs”.

Now on to UFC 155. Maybe something in here will get me out of my Bisping Haters Anonymous group.

Just kidding…. it’s not anonymous.

Chris Cariaso vs. John Moraga

  • My Pick: John Moraga
  • Reasoning: The thing that keeps be considering Cariaso is how hard he fought Michael McDonald at 135. McDonald is as tough as they come at 21, and Cariaso took everything he could dish out. However, Cariaso has not showed me enough to think that he can finish Moraga. Although Cariaso has showed a strong chin before, I’m not sure he can take 3 rounds without getting caught by Moraga.
  • Confidence: Good

Leonard Garcia vs. Max Holloway

  • My Pick: Max Holloway
  • Reasoning: I want to pick Garcia, I really do. He’s a great guy, his fights are exciting, but if I’m being honest, I don’t think he’s won a fight since he split decisioned Jameel Massouh at WEC 42 and hasn’t won convincingly since he TKO’d Jens Pulver at WEC 36. Garcia has just gotten to a point where all he wants to do is brawl. He goes in saying he’s going to fight technical this time and then loses sight of that. I think Holloway is too disciplined to fall into his trap and I think he’ll pick Garcia apart.
  • Confidence: Good

Philip De Fries vs. Todd Duffee

  • My Pick: Todd Duffee
  • Reasoning: This is a tailor made fight for Duffee. I almost think it’s an apology from Dana for firing him so quickly. Duffee is one of the strongest dudes I’ve ever seen. He’s literally the only person I’ve ever seen in person that has audibly made me “whoa”. His only weak point seems to be that his chin can be touched and what the UFC gave him here is somebody who won’t touch it. 
  • Confidence: Extreme

Myles Jury vs. Michael Johnson

  • My Pick: Michael Johnson
  • Reasoning: Since joining the Blackzilians, I think Johnson has really pulled it together. He seems to have upped the quality of training partners significantly and it’s paid dividends in all parts of his game. I expect Jury to hang in there for all 3 rounds, but to take quite a bit of punishment in the process.
  • Confidence: Fair

Melvin Guillard vs. Jamie Varner

  • My Pick: Jamie Varner
  • Reasoning: Melvin Guillard’s out is knocking peoples’ blocks off. Varner, has one of the best pound for pound chins in MMA (see some of the knees Ceronne hit him with). Varner is also no sloutch on the ground and Guillard is exactly that. I think if he can get it down Varner surprises people with this one.  
  • Confidence: Fair

Byron Bloodworth vs. Erik Perez

  • My Pick: Erik Perez
  • Reasoning: This is the second fight on this card that made me scratch my head a bit when the UFC announced it. Bloodworth took a beating from Mike Easton his last fight out and Perez has looked more and more impressive every time out. Knocking out Ken Stone is no joke and neither is Perez. If you are making bets on this card, use this and the Duffee fight for parlays. 
  • Confidence: Extreme

Brad Pickett vs. Eddie Wineland

  • My Pick: Brad Pickett
  • Reasoning: This will be fight of the night. If not, something miraculous better have happened in another fight because I’m fairly certain this won’t disappoint. My slight nod goes to Pickett on this one. Pickett just seems like he is a little bit less prone to make mistakes than Wineland, although this is going to be a razor close fight. Remember when I told you earlier to use the Bloodworth/Perez and De Fries/Duffee fights for parlays? Don’t use this one.
  • Confidence: Fair

Happy Holidays and Happy Pickings,

Big Sexy


Double Pick Post: UFC on FX 6 and TUF Finale Picks

It is a great weekend to be a UFC fan. A lot of free fights all over the place and absolutely the fan friendly ones. I’ve had a lot of friends complaining that maybe these cards are too watered down and that maybe the UFC has to lay off a bit. I’m going to argue though, that free fights are free fights. Plus, just because you don’t recognize the name, don’t shun it as a boring fight. After all, isn’t that pretty much the motto of this site. Now, without further ado, the 13 preliminary fights for this weekend

UFC on FX 6: Sotiropoulos vs Pearson

Nick Penner vs. Cody Donovan

  • My Pick: Cody Donnovan
  • Reasoning: Penner seemed to have a lot of trouble dealing with Anthony Perosh’s ground game. Although it is well known that Perosh is a wiz on the ground, the ease on which Penner was taken down is more alarming to me. Donnovan is a fighter who enjoys doing just that. In his semi-recent Bellator fight, he double legged and slammed his way to a seemingly easy decision. I imagine that will likely be his gameplan here as well.
  • Confidence: Good

Brendan Loughnane vs. Mike Wilkinson

  • My Pick: Brendan Lougnane
  • Reasoning: Both these guys seem to have some pretty decent wrestling, but in very different ways. Wilkinson is going to come in and try to use his pure strength to bully Loughnane around. Loughnane, on the other hand, is much more composed and will try to use some Greco trips to get the same done. In the end, I think both will have trouble finishing each other and that the good movement, patience and cardio of Lougnane will score him the minor upset.
  • Confidence: Fair

Ben Alloway vs. Manuel Rodriguez

  • My Pick: Ben Alloway
  • Reasoning: Although he is much better known for his jiu jitsu, Alloway actual has shown a good deal of power behind his punches. Having scored some solid knockdowns here and there, I’ve come to expect his hands to keep improving. Despite the fact that I do like Manny Rodriguez, he seems much more one dimensional to me and his chin has indeed be exposed before.
  • Confidence: Good

Mike Pearce vs. Seth Baczynski

  • My Pick: Seth Baczynski
  • Reasoning: I think people keep writing the Polish Pistola off, myself included. He’s a really strong guy who trains with a lot of wrestlers. He will definitely be prepared for Pearce’s game plan. In addition, he’s actually quite good off of his back. He’s submitted the always tough  Matt Brown on an attempted shot and has a plethora of guillotines and triangles in his career. I think he’s going to shock some people and put himself on the map.
  • Confidence: Fair

Igor Pokrajac vs. Joey Beltran

  • My Pick: Igor Pokrajac
  • Reasoning: I do expect to see a much fresher, much more technical Joey Beltran down at light heavyweight. However, he still is at heart a brawler and Pokrajac is a man you don’t want to brawl with. Although I don’t think that he will knock Beltran out, I do think if he can out box Maldonado on the feet, Beltran won’t be a problem for him. 
  • Confidence: Great

Chad Mendes vs. Yaotzin Meza

  • My Pick: Chad Mendes
  • Reasoning: Not sure I’ve ever been as confident in a pick as this one. Meza is not ready for Mendes. Mendes has much better wrestling, is much stronger and has a lot more quality experience.
  • Confidence: Extreme

TUF 16 Finale: Nelson vs Mitrione

Tim Elliot vs. Jared Papazian

  • My Pick: Tim Elliot
  • Reasoning: I was lucky enough to be live for the Elliot/Dodson fight and I can easily say that just about everyone there was surprised with Elliot. Dodson, who had essentially been tabbed next to the top was pressed with a level of unorthodox strikes that wouldn’t made even a Duke Roufus guy uncomfortable. Meanwhile, Papazian has really been underwhelming in all of his fights against name opponents.
  • Confidence: Great

Mike Rio vs. John Cofer

  • My Pick: John Cofer
  • Reasoning: Unfortunately for Cofer, he’ll probably always be remembered as the guy who took that nasty head kick. And, when people are breaking down the fight, that’s the first thing they’ll probably think of. Although, admittedly, that came to my mind as well, I also would like to remind my audience that he is a member of Team Alpha Male, has great wrestling and a jiu jitsu game that is definitely coming around. Not to mention, if Rio shoots, as we know he may, Cofer has got that Alpha Male guillotine. 
  • Confidence: Good

Reuben Duran vs. Hugo Viana

  • My Pick: Reuben Duran
  • Reasoning: Duran showed me he has the ability to be as tough as nails in the Mizugaki fight. He took a guy that everybody saw towards the top of the division and battled him to a split. Viana has never really impressed me. Even in his recent decision I saw not much to write home about. Perhaps he’ll change his tune, but if he doesn’t it’ll spell trouble for him.
  • Confidence: Good

TJ Waldburger vs. Nick Catone

  • My Pick: TJ Waldburger
  • Reasoning: Catone certainly has the strength and pure wrestling ability to get this fight to the ground. However, Waldburger is by far the most active guy from his back that I have seen in a long time. If Catone want to win this fight, he is going to have to fight off 3 rounds worth of submission attempts. Waldburger just needs to catch one.
  • Confidence: Fair

Vinc Pichel vs. Rustam Khabilov

  • My Pick: Rustam Khabilov
  • Reasoning: Fact: Vinc Pichel looked very impressive on tough and I was looking forward to seeing his debut. Fact: There has been a recent influx of tough Russian fighters who know how to use their Sambo backgrounds to make fighter’s lives miserable. Fact: Khabilov is one of those fighters.
  • Confidence: Great

Johnny Bedford vs. Marcos Vinicius

  • My Pick: Johnny Bedford
  • Reasoning: Bedford impressed me while on the Ultimate Fighter, but he really showed at the finale what he can do with a full fight camp where he’s comfortable, which I think is much more telling. More than anything, this guy is a gamer and I fully expect him to be able to weather the storm of punched that Vinicius brings. Also, his jiu jitsu game is strong enough to at least stay out of trouble in that realm.
  • Confidence: Good

Mike Pyle vs. James Head

  • My Pick: Mike Pyle
  • Reasoning: A true fight veteran, Pyle has been in some wars. A winner of 5 of his last 6, his only loss was to the ever popular Rory MacDonald. While I praise the recent win over Brain Ebersole, Head’s performance on an Ebersole with a short camp didn’t exactly impress me. Nor did it make me think that he could overcome Pyle’s ability to fight just about anywhere.
  • Confidence: Good

Happy Pickings all weekend,

Big Sexy


UFC on Fox Picks and a Special Shout Out!

Before we get to tomorrow’s big preliminary card, I’d like to send a shout out to someone. It was a little over two years ago, I walked into a jiu jitsu gym and fell in love. The competition, the team building and, yes, the choking of someone until they see those weird little spots; everything about it was perfect. Even though I’ve moved a few times since then, had to change gyms to reflect that, I never forgot the first place I walked into.

Feeling completely freaked out and extremely intimidated, I tried to determine if I should have gone to one of the smaller, lesser known gyms rather than the first one my search engine picked up. As I walked in, the intimidation faded. There’s something about a jiu jitsu gym that makes me feel comfortable. So, as I stepped on the mat for the first time, a young man in a gi ran me through what would be my first holds. I clumsily attempted to pull off a kimura, straight arm bar and a triangle choke in my black running shorts and plain white t-shirt. The fact that the young man never got frustrated with my apparent lack of natural talent was most likely one of the contributing factor to me coming back. So, I want to send a shout out to John Manley. You probably don’t remember training with me, as I was only there for two months or so before I moved, but I want to thank you for helping me get hooked on jiu jitsu. Good luck tonight and during your likely impending fight on the finale.

Now, time for some picks.

Scott Jorgensen vs. John Albert

  • My Pick: Scott Jorgensen
  • Reasoning: Although both are on a run of bad luck, these two are guys who could easily turn a win here into a quality win streak. While I really enjoy John Albert’s ground game and think he has a lot of promise there, Jorgensen has great wrestling. He will likely use this wrestling to keep it on his feet and bang, which if you’ve seen his fights, you’ll know is the right decision. I see Albert having a hard time if it stays there and Jorgensen taking care of him.
  • Confidence: Good

Dennis Siver vs. Nam Phan

  • My Pick: Dennis Siver
  • Reasoning: A lot of people jumped on the Nam Phan wagon after his hard fought battles with Leonard Garcia. While I really enjoyed the fight, I think Phan showed a weakness; the willingness to go into someone else’s territory. While I doubt he’ll be as likely to do that here, it won’t take very long if Phan gets confident in his striking. Siver has some of the most legitimate striking in the featherweight division and I see him exploiting that to it’s full extent.
  • Confidence: Great

Marcus LeVesseur vs. Abel Trujillo

  • My Pick: Marcus LeVesseur
  • Reasoning: This was an extremely hard pick for me as I had “Killa” Trujillo pulling off the upset over a strong Tim Means. His wrestling seemed like it would be plenty to get to the “Ditry Bird” and grind one out. However, thanks to the oddest injury in some time (See here for more info: http://mmajunkie.com/news/2012/12/sauna-kos-tim-means-abel-trujillo-now-meets-marcus-levesseur-at-ufc-on-fox-5), Trujillo is going to run into someone who can cancel that wrestling out. LeVesseur was a very solid, albeit division III wrestler, and can likely overpower the very strong Trujillo. 
  • Confidence: Fair

Daron Cruickshank vs. Henry Martinez

  • My Pick: Henry Martinez
  • Reasoning: Cruickshank is as tough as nails, but unfortunately for him, he knows he is. The knowledge of his toughness tends to encourage him to test it, which will be a great disservice to him in a fight against somebody who can strike technically or brawl, like Martinez. I also like Martinez in this fight due to his clear improvement in game planning with Jackson/Winklejohn in his last fight. Either way, I might be shocked if this doesn’t win fight of the night. 
  • Confidence: Good

Ramsey Nijem vs. Joe Proctor

  • My Pick: Joe Proctor
  • Reasoning: A bit of an upset pick here, I’m going with Proctor, who I think is a bit more well rounded here. While it’s clear to me that Nijem will be able to put Proctor on his back, I’m not sure he’s going to want the fight there. Proctor is strong off of his back and should be able to work some submissions. In addition, the jury is still out on Nijem’s jaw and I think Proctor could surprise people with his power.
  • Confidence: Fair

Raphael Assuncao vs. Mike Easton

  • My Pick: Mike Easton
  • Reasoning: Easton has made me pay once or twice before and, after the last time he burned me, I promised not to pick against him again. When he imposes that powerful frame, I think there is few at bantamweight with that kind of pure strength. With all of this being considered, it should also be noted that Assuncao has had past troubles with wrestlers.
  • Confidence: Great

Yves Edwards vs. Jeremy Stephens

  • My Pick: Jeremy Stephens
  • Reasoning: If Cruickshank and Martinez don’t win fight of the night, this one will likely be to blame. These two are going to stand and trade hands and what will decide the fight is who can take it. Stephens has never been knocked out and has been tested on more than a couple occasions. Edwards has shown an ever diminishing chin as his fight number gets higher and higher. 
  • Confidence: Great

If you are one of those fans who boos any kind of grappling in an MMA fight I have two things for you. First, you suck. Second, enjoy these prelims.

Happy Pickings,

Big Sexy